Maria Papathanasiou

Practical application of Philosophical Inquiry to Parents’ -Teachers Communities

Abstract: I would like to present the innovative model of practice directed toward promoting teacher-facilitated liberating democratic dialogue between parents and teachers that is based on the fundamental principles of Socratic dialogue that academically acclaimed Columbia University professor of philosophy, Matthew Lipman, incorporated into an educational model for school- teachers, and their students. Use of the process of philosophical Socratic dialogue—not study of historical philosophy—to explore and evaluate alternative actions and concepts between both children and adults is highly innovative in light of the fact that, until very recently, it was unimagined that children could think abstractly let alone compare and balance philosophical concepts. I call my model in which teachers employ adult-adapted versions of Lipman’s principles, Philosophy for Parents (P4P). In time I perceived under intensive study of the literature that a number of adult learning theories, especially including Mezirow’s Transformative Learning and its dialogue circles, and, to some extent others, might likely prove, under study in practice, to elucidate and positively inform the process and evolution of P4P. The title of my subject is: Practical application of Philosophical Inquiry to Parents’ -Teachers Communities.

Short bio: As an active educator and a psychologist I have tried to bridge a continuing gap, that of parents-school relationship. Currently I work as a Refugees’ Education Coordinator in Athens, appointed by the Greek Ministry of Education and as an adjunct professor at the University of Thessaly, Greece. I have been a Visiting Research Scholar at IAPC, Montclair State University, NJ for the previous 3 years while also being a Visiting Doctoral student at TC, Columbia Univ., NY. Have studied in 7 universities in 5 different countries and worked as a teacher primarily.

Fields of research are, Philosophy for/with Children & Communities, adult’s / teachers’ learning, Family Literacy, children’s rights, and gifted education.”